Martial back to his best in Man Utd win against Man City, says Solskjaer

The France international was a doubt for the match but the Red Devils boss was delighted with his display against their rivals

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Anthony Martial looked like he was back to his best in Manchester United’s 2-0 win at Manchester City on Sunday, even though the striker was a doubt to feature just hours before the match.

The Frenchman earned the visitors a penalty when he was fouled by Gabriel Jesus in the early stages of the derby clash, which Bruno Fernandes stepped up to convert and give his side the lead.

The 25-year-old had been left out of United’s last two Premier League matches and has scored just three goals in 2021.

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What did Solskjaer say?

Solskjaer did not expect him to make the squad, but hailed the France international as the best player on the park against Pep Guardiola’s team.

“Anthony Martial was man of the match and he was an even bigger doubt than Luke [Shaw],” he told BBC Sport.

“That was the Anthony we know, strong, positive and taking players on. [I’m] delighted for him.”

He added to Sky Sports: “Every game is different. We went back to be a little bit what we wanted to be and that’s being direct. That was the Anthony Martial of old.

“Until two hours before warm-up I wasn’t sure if he’d play. Today he rediscovered himself. He was really strong on the ball and very positive.”

How did Man Utd win the derby?

After Fernandes slotted the penalty home after just two minutes, United full-back Shaw fired in the second just five minutes after the restart after he was teed up by Marcus Rashford.

City enjoyed more possession and had 23 shots throughout the 90 minutes, while the Red Devils registered just eight attempts on the home side’s goal.

Solskjaer admits his side had some difficult moments, but was happy with their performance overall.

“Delighted. I’d say you get the first goal, we were on the front foot for 10-15 minutes but then the last half hour of the first half I felt we played too much on the result,” he said.

“Sometimes when you defend against strong teams inevitably they create chances. We had to get to half time to get hold of everyone again.

“The second goal was magnificent. Luke just showed what he is about. He was a massive doubt this morning and had to go through a fitness test to play. What a performance.

“I thought we defended really well, we were more like ourselves with the ball attacking wise.”

Solskjaer in dark on Rashford injury

The Norwegian admitted that he was unsure as to the extent of a worrying injury for Marcus Rashford however, with the England man’s forced exit from the game the one sour note in an otherwise glowing day.

“I don’t know, it’s something [to do] with his ankle when he sprinted back about 70 yards to save a goal,” the manager added.

“It just shows the attitude of the boy and the pace and how he sacrificed himself. I think maybe he went over on his ankle but we need to do a scan. I’ve not had time to speak to the doctor yet.”

What’s next for Man Utd?

United will take on AC Milan in the first leg of their last-16 Europa League tie on Thursday.

Three days later they will host West Ham at Old Trafford in the Premier Leauge.

The Red Devils are still second in the table and now 11 points behind City.

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